Sunday, July 15, 2012

What's my line? (or Things I Will Miss About Florida)

line/līn/, noun, the movement track of a dot

(Odyssey of the Mind, 2010)

First, I have to say, this challenge, to look at all perspectives and discover what is composed of lines, is fascinating.  It's been on my mind every day since Hsin-Chen proposed it!  Line is something taken for granted, never really contemplated, but ubiquitous to our lives.  So, my first step was to research the significance of line....

Space Shuttle launch, 2009
There's and interesting article "An Analysis on the Influence of Line in Chinese and Western Painting on Visual Shaping Language" by Jianqiu Sun and Chang Xiao, who observe, " The line of western painting, a rational painting element possessing the meaning of interpretation, is in pursuit of shaping and creating exact outer body shapes; the line of Chinese painting, besides delineating body shapes, stresses the spatial organization relationship of lines. The line of Chinese painting contains independent aesthetic value, “lines are for shaping” and conveys philosophy concept of eastern culture “the union of heaven and humans”.

Rocket launch, 2011

Continuing from the definition above, they note "the movement track of a dot, is a movement track that can be visualized, and can represent the spirit of the person or object that initiates that line".  Now that I am thinking about it, of course.  The lines we make with a paint brush, or the line of poetry we write, or even the lines of our home where we express ourselves, these are all lines that represent our spirit.  The spirit can also be expressed in a our signature, I am thinking, perhaps because I have signed so many papers lately.  Graphologists say they can read a person from their handwriting.  Interesting.

Shuttle contrail signature

Rocket contrail signature

Because of where I've been living, I have had the good fortune to watch some amazing things over the last 7 years.  Every Space Shuttle and rocket launch has been a glorious and daunting sight!  Several things I particularly enjoyed, beyond the amazing "movement track of the dot" were the magnificent rumble you could feel several minutes after the launch when the sound had traveled to us.  The other thing, was the signature left behind by the contrail as it started to dissipate.  The spirit of the Space Shuttle?

Nesting Loggerhead Sea Turtle signature
photo © Ann Zscheile 

Newly-hatched Loggerhead signature
photo © Ann Zscheile

Another awesome thing has been the opportunity to witness the life cycle of sea turtles, as this is the nesting destination of three species of these amazing creatures.  If you don't have the good fortune to encounter one (or many) of them, they often have left their "signature" on the beach overnight, very distinct lines created by these massive creatures hauling out to nest or delicate, lacy lines made by the newborns making their way to sea.  The spirit of the sea turtle?

It's challenging to me to decide which direction to go with our line challenge.  I have so many distinctly different ideas about the subject and any one of them creates so many new questions when I start to ponder their meaning.  A very profound, thought provoking challenge. I look forward to everyone's interpretation!


  1. Dear Martha, it was honor and joy that you shared your article here. Lines are magical things. No matter informal and formal lines, they are in each time and space and allow us to think and learn. Thank you for sharing your viewpoint; I enjoyed it very much. I look forward to seeing your finished quilt for this challenge.

    Best Regards,

    1. Thank you, Hsin-Chen. I'm very excited about your challenge and don't know which way I will go with it. I'm really enjoying thinking about things in a new way, though. When I started my post to the blog, I had no idea of it taking this direction.....but I guess this is what is on my mind:)